Annual Run for the Roses, Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 3

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

It’s called “The Sport of Kings” — perhaps that’s why it’s not particularly my cup of tea. I’m talking about thoroughbred horse racing and specifically the Kentucky Derby.

Even though I don’t consider myself a huge fan, this Saturday (May 3), I’ll be joining the millions of serious and casual fans who will be cheering for their favorite equine during the fastest 2 minutes in sports.

It’s been the biggest horse race in the United States each year for the past 140 years, and it’s become a part of America’s sporting culture, even for those of us who aren’t royalty. Men, women, billionaires and paupers all turn into horse racing fans during the annual Run for the Roses.

At press time, there are 25 horses entered in the field at Churchill Downs. Each one will be hoping to claim the win and take the first race on the road to the 2014 Triple Crown. Many horse-racing experts are calling California Chrome the early favorite.

I’m not embarrassed at all to admit that I know very little about “handicapping the ponies.” I’m guessing I fall into the category of the majority of the casual bettors who pick a horse based on its appearance, name or color of silks the jockey is wearing.

The last time I watched a horse race was last year’s Kentucky Derby. Prior to the race, I wrote the name Orb on a small slip of paper and placed it on my coffee table. When the race was over, Orb was the winner. I don’t even remember why I chose him. I do remember, though, that I had wished I would have made a bet on him.

This year, I’m writing the name of two horses down, both based on their names. I like Wildcat Red and Harry’s Holiday. Now, I need to make sure I stop by the OTB and put a couple of bucks on both of them.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the April 30-May 6, 2014 issue

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